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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Initiating and maintaining relationships requires self-regulation. People's willingness and ability to engage in such self-regulation thus profoundly affects their relationship satisfaction and stability. This chapter examines how different self-regulatory priorities that arise in relationships—that is, concerns with growth and advancing social connection (promotion) versus security and maintaining social connection (prevention)—play a role in these effects. After describing how concerns with promotion or prevention are represented and experienced, how they arise, and how they are distinct from other relationship motivations, we review several initial programs of research investigating these concerns in relationship contexts. Overall, this research shows that promotion-focused sensitivities and strategies produce eager pursuit of opportunities that relationships can provide and evaluations of relationships based on the potential for future benefits, whereas prevention-focused sensitivities and strategies produce vigilant pursuit of upholding obligations that relationships necessitate and evaluations based on the security the relationship can provide.

Keywords: self-regulation, relationship initiation, relationship maintenance, measuring regulatory focus, trust, commitment, dyadic processes

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